Falling out of grace

Friday, April 18, 2014

It's very clear to me all of a sudden how far I've fallen from myself over the last year.
I can't say when or how this happened. It's been happening so slowly that I didn't even realize anything was really changing, but overtime I stopped being my best self. I have felt private, bored, un-inspired, uninterested...the list goes on. And it's not me. 

 I think it took a round of earth shattering, rock-bottom-hitting sickness to wake me up from the comfortable trap I've created for myself....and the hard part about this is that once you're awake-you stay awake. 

Awareness is a double edged sword, isn't it? Once you know better then  you do better, right? The flip side of this is that you have actually have to change your behavior.  

If the only constant in this life is change, then why is it so damn hard? Why is it scary? Why does it feel like a huge burden to get everyone around you to accept your change? 

I read the other day about a friend of mine, Jenna (you can follow her journey on Instagram. Username: JennasKitchen), who is changing her diet for the better.  She's eating whole food and cutting out the crap while documenting it, and feeling so healthy and amazing. Yet certain people are giving her flack. Not everyone of course, but it's clear that people are uncomfortable with her change (even though it's obviously a change for the better) and have voiced their opinions. They're uncomfortable with her bettering herself and her family because it's different than what they're used to. 

She said something poignant.

She sees that this push back towards her healthy lifestyle change from certain people is fear driven. It's not that they want her to fail, or to be unhealthy, but people are afraid of what they don't know. 

How will this affect our friendship? Will we be able to hang out as much? What if she wants me to change? 
You get it. Fear driven. 

Change sparks fear. 

It sparks fear in me. But just as much as I know I need routine, I absolutely know I need adventure.  I know I need to laugh more... To be silly more. I know that the work:life ratio in our house has been seriously out of whack for the last year, and I know that we, as a family, need to find a way to spend more quality time together. I know I need to exercise, meditate, and eat healthy daily. 

So I'm getting back to these basics. This is my starting point. 

It's making waves. I'm not going lie, but I can't help of thinking of my two little girls seeing me day in and day out. I have one shot only at being a good example to them. I get no do overs. I will never get Zuri at 5 and Remi at 2 again.  What's truly best for them is being my best me--at all times. 

So, I'm doing this. 

Wish me luck. 

...and energy!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

 I woke up before any of my kids this morning.

This is rare.

Ever since I became sick with this pregnancy Zuri has had to learn to become more independent...something that she thrives at now.

So, I was listening this morning as her alarm went off. Within two rings she shut it off and I could hear her sit up from her covers and say, 'Looks pretty warm!'

Ha ha.. the utterly optimistic.

From there she went to her dresser where she ran into some typical girl troubles. I could hear slight bits and pieces of her talking quietly to herself about wanting to wear her gray shirt with her new blue flower leggings, but she wore that gray shirt just a few days ago.  She didn't know what to do.

I watched her tip toe out of her room with her clothes options in hand, and make her way upstairs to ask for my help. She was half way up when I scared the crap out her by saying, "Good morning, Zuri" from the couch downstairs.

We both thought this was hilarious--I still do.

She came down, we discussed her shirt problem and she chose to go with this outfit because.."white goes with anything, mom. And if you look reallllly closely there are red dots in my flower pants, so I should wear my red hoodie, even though my pants aren't red. Right?

"Right, Zu. Good choice."

"....and I get so sweaty at recess...But I'm cold in the morning. So I like hoodies--I just take them of before I get sweaty."

Then she brushed her own hair, and put on her shoes while I made her toast. We met in the family room where she handed me the hair stuff for braids and I handed her toast.

It was like a nicely little choreographed dance.

Not all morning are like this. Remi is usually awake and we're almost always running late, but even then, things with Zuri always seem to sail smoothly. She so thoughtful and low maintenance--and so, so cool.

Its crazy.

 I hate the kids getting older, and it is really strange not being as needed by her, but if this is what its like then I'll happily take it. I love it.

So, all this was running through my head and I was looking at her watch out the window for her carpool.  She so much older, and so beautiful. I knew I wanted to get a picture of her right then. I want to remember this morning for some reason. I want to freeze this moment in my history and be so thankful for her, and for motherhood.

I ran upstairs to get my phone and caught her just in the nick of time as her ride pulled up.

It was fast.

....and so is our time with them.

-But I got these 3 pictures. They're blurry--not even good. I adore them, though.

Humpty Dumpty

Friday, April 4, 2014

Over the last 4 months I have been shattered into a million little pieces and have slowly been putting myself and my life back together again. 

I'm one of the lucky ones who get sick when they're pregnant. Not morning sickness. ....please no one tell me to just eat crackers first thing in the morning---because it will throw me into a rage and I will think about hitting you. 

It's not that type of sickness. It's the type that you can do everything right like eating every 20 minutes, drinking coconut water until you're peeing it, practically be snorting ginger on the regs, buying stupid wrist bands,  taking zofran, unisom, b-6, and seriously be contemplating witchcraft---and even then, you'll still be sick 24/7. It was that type. 

And I want to hug and cry with any woman who knows exactly what I mean. 

All three of my pregnancies so far have been like this, but varying in time and intensity. This one has decided to be fast, yet furious. For that, I am so grateful. 

But throughout this living hell I have endured I want to focus on the silver linings.

The main one being that PEOPLE ARE GOOD. 

Can say a million times over how really good people are if you let them be good to you? 

My friends came over everyday. EVERYDAY. My mom flew out for week followed right by my mother-in-law. Bronson worked all day just to come home at night to calm the storm brewing in our house. Zuri became completely independent and took over the role of Remi's mother for me without a bit of resentment. 

(That kid is something else, but I'll save that for another time.)

People fed my kids, fed me, cleaned my house...and most importantly, they gave me hope. Hope that it would end eventually. Hope that my kids were actually ok...that they wouldn't be traumatized by my inability 
to care for them, that Zuri was fine not doing homework or reading for 4 months, and Remi was ok eating Trix cereal off the floor watching hours of TV. 

My friend, Jess, gets this way while pregnant, but even worse if you could imagine, and she would call and give me these Coach Carter pep talks. I remember her saying something that stuck with me...It went a little something like:
 '....this is your burden and your burden alone. No one can take this pain away from you, no one can do this for you. So you have to crawl into your foxhole and get through this, because it will all be worth it in the end.'  I thought about that foxhole a lot. 

Then strangers started coming over. 

Something I didn't know about myself before all this was that I don't want anyone to worry about me. I don't want to add stress to anyone's  day, so I'll say I'm fine when I'm not, or when I'm feeling awful I'll put a smile on to try to not to ruin the mood for everyone else. 

I have a common case of the disease to please--even in horrible situations. But with complete strangers, this need to make everyone else feel comfortable went out the window. I could truly breakdown and let them know I'm not ok. I could throw up and not say "it's ok... it's ok. I'm fine." It was the greatest blessing. 

So, the first stranger who showed up on my doorstep unannounced with a box full of food, I tackled. With what little strength I had in my body I literally jumped on her.  I was so happy,  then all of a sudden I started bawling into this lady's shoulder.  She came into my filthy house, pushing a path thorough all my kids toys, clothes, and half eaten cereal bowls with her feet, and then I cuddled on this woman's lap and wept like baby. 

I cry now even thinking of it.

She didn't say anything. She patted my head and kissed my cheek. She let me sit there as she fed my children, then bathed them, and helped me get them ready for bed. She left and came back an hour later with her husband who gave me a blessing.  

The next lady who came to my door was well into her 80's. She showed up with, I kid you not, a weeks worth of meals. All pre-packaged and ready for my kids to just take out of the fridge.  

After she got everything situated in my kitchen she went into the kids room and gathered all the laundry. Three baskets full. 

I continued to cry out of gratitude throughout her visit, and even then again on the next day when she delivered all the laundry starched, ironed, and folded perfectly. Have you ever ironed underwear? ...Because my kids cute little undies were ironed.  

Visits like these continued for 5 weeks from my mom, to mom-in-law, friends, to complete strangers. My need to apologize for a messy home and unwashed hair faded and things got real really fast. 
These women accepted and loved me at my worst....when I can do nothing for them, they have offered to do everything for me. From arranging a car pool for my daughter, to fertilizing my lawn....it's truly amazing.  I can't tell you how I much I love these women...there are no ways to say thank you enough. 

If I learned anything from this and if I could hope that you do too, it would be to know that people really are so good. My initial reaction was to not let anyone in on my suffering. It's embarrassing after all, right? All of it is from my house, to my inability care for my kids, to the scary way I looked for so long. But my quality of life seriously improved the more I let people in on my struggles. The sickness didn't fade but my perspective improved. So if there are willing people in your life, let them in. Give people an opportunity to serve. It's a win/win for everyone. 

...and I'm happy to be back. 

....and it's a boy! I can't even believe it

.....and I missed you guys. 

Humans are cool

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

     ... and we're having another one.

     We're stoked.

     And scared.

     Due: September 17

Lock'N Long Hair Extensions

Monday, November 18, 2013

I have found the answer to my love/hate relationship with hair extensions and I just wouldn't feel right keeping it to myself. 

But first, the truth: I hate the time and money spent on having to keep hair extensions up and looking nice, and of course, the damaged caused to my hair by the glue and glue remover. 

And another truth:  My hair is long, yet fine and a little extra thickness makes a world of a difference for me, so I loooove the way extensions look. 

Dilemmas, right?

So, when I moved to SF I swore extensions off. There was no way I could ever justify the money spent on having to find a babysitter to watch my kids while I was away, just to pay an arm and a leg for a hairstylist to adjust my extensions up every 4-6 weeks. I chose to go without. 

...Then I stumbled across LOCK'N LONG

Lock'N Long extensions are a new DIY, semi-permanent hair extension company that has come out with quality hair extensions that you put in yourself in as little as 20 minutes. Sounds crazy? I thought so, too.

Once I read more into the brand and realized there are no glues, or chemicals, or tapes used to adhere the extensions onto your natural hair, AND you can pull your hair up into a ponytail, AND they last for weeks. Of course I had to try them out, and I'm pretty happy I did because I am sooo stoked on them, guys!

First and foremost, I love them because they look really good, but more than that, it's so nice to be able to do something totally for myself in my own home, on my schedule.  Both times I've put them in its been while I've sat on my couch during Remi's nap time while binging on Netflix. They're really that easy.

-And just because they're easy to put in doesn't mean they're cheap. The hair is quality human hair, and Lock'N Long uses a loop and bead lock technology that holds for up to six weeks...when you're ready to tighten them after around 6 weeks, then you can easily remove the bead lock with a tool provided to you with the purchase of the hair, re-bead the weft, then attach the extension back onto your natural hair near the root. 

Easy peasy. 

So here's an adorable Miley inspired mirror selfie with no extensions. I just chopped about 5 inches off my natural hair. 

And here I am with my Lock'N Long extensions in 2 weeks later.

And lucky for you, the lovely ladies over at Lock'N Long have been generous enough to offer up a 50% discount to my readers who are interested in buying...use the coupon code "50blog" and don't wait too long, it's for a limited time only. 


Friday, October 11, 2013

I've been thinking about how rude it was of me to ditch you guys without any explanation at all. But, the truth is I never meant to take the summer (plus a couple months) off. It happened organically and I chose to go with it.

I've always known that to become good at anything you have to immerse yourself into whatever it is you want to learn. For me, nothing I do 'just a little bit' becomes something I enjoy.  The more months that we spent in our new home, it became clear that nothing that made us previously who we were as a family and as individuals was the same. So, we had to re-create ourselves...and we all had to immerse ourselves in the process.

For Bronson, this meant throwing himself into work. Working all day only to come home to work and educate himself at night.

For me, this meant throwing my self into homemaking.

Yes, I actually just said the word homemaking.

Throughout the years we've been married I've somehow dodged this bullet.  I've always worked, and we've always had these wonderful outlets that gave us comfy, cozy, homey feelings....This wasn't exactly the space we were in, but it was more about the people that gave us this feeling. Our families, extended families, and close knit friends surrounded us. Every holiday and celebrated event was filled with tons of people who made that day special---strip those people away and I was left with me, myself, and I to make things special and memorable.

The weight of being my children's and families sole source of happiness was heavy at first. I knew as much as Bronson wanted to be there for me in this--he couldn't.

I had to become a person who ran a tight ship....who actually followed a schedule (my dreaded word, schedule). I had to become more organized. I had to become a better homemaker.

Mothering and homemaking are two completely different things in my book. Mothering came so naturally, while homemaking felt so forced. I always felt like there were more important things to do than spend my Wednesday solely doing laundry, but as time went on I realized that Wednesday laundry day is important. And, then after even more time, I became to enjoy the schedule...even craved the schedule. 

And it actually turns out that homemaking isn't all about decor, cleanliness, or schedules at all, though. I found out its more about creating an environment were everyone can feel comfortable, relaxed, inspired, safe, and productive all at once. 

These days I consider myself a proud homemaker. As time goes on I'm realizing I am really good at the schedule and the organization. It has become who I am and what I do to keep my family happy and moving forward.

This homemaking thing also meant to let people into my life more. To feel that comfy, homey feeling I had to open myself up to my friends and church out here.  Now, our children treat each other like cousins...my friends know my kids schedule and I know their kids schedule. We help each other out and care about each others happiness. These women have become like my family. It's so awesome!

So there is it, I guess...The reason I became a ghost. In hindsight I think it turns out that it was worth it, because things around here are much nicer and enjoyable. I feel happiness and contentment that I haven't in years. I think the word to most describe my day to day life is peaceful. But, it was only when a reader wrote such a sweet open letter to me did I realize how much I was denying a certain part of myself by not creating time to write anymore. So, all I can think of saying is thank you for reminding me why I do this, Megan.  It was needed and appreciated more than you know!


The Wizard of Oz

Friday, September 27, 2013

The truth about happiness for me--is that there are no numbers in happiness.

I distinctly remember a brief moment in time awhile back where my life, my digital life that is, started to accelerate rapidly. I went from 14-20 page views per day to in the thousands of page views per day within the span of a just a few weeks. 

What's funny to me about this (and its the one part that I remember so distinctly) was that this fact made me no happier. Not one bit. 

Strange, right? 

And what's really odd is that I saw it affect the people surrounding me more than it has ever affected me personally. People were either:

A- ridiculously happy for me 
B-hitting me up for more lunch dates/partnerships 
 or C-totally uncomfortable with it and ignored it/me. 

I embraced the C people's reaction....because,  I guess, I was a bit uncomfortable with it, too. 

My whole take on life is that I always want to be apart of the solution...never apart of the problem. So, the issue I have is this: 

 I think I may have been a part of the problem.

By displaying my life publicly for a large audience, am I teaching my daughters and young readers that there is power in numbers, therefore making them want to strive for that? Am I putting off that a certain amount of a person's "success"  comes in the way of multitudes of people swooning over their personal possessions? 

I hope not. Cause that stuff means nothing at the end of the day.

Goals are so important, but some goals of our modern time are so silly...hitting a certain number of followers, getting to a stupidly low weight, striving for those 6+ figures in your bank account. 

....the numbers.

It's all pretend. 

You'll reach the number you've always wanted to someday and realize you're no different...Because real happiness dwells inside. It's actually in you. It's in the people you surround yourself with, and what you put your time and energy into. 

Not in the numbers. 

So for me, that's my kids. It's my family and its my friends...and it's learning more about who I am and why I'm here on Earth a little more each day.

Some days the only reason I am alive is to clean up smushed grapes Remi has tracked all around the house. For real. I'll lay down at night and think...'Today I cleaned....and that's all." I have decided that those days, although seemingly mundane, are still very important days....But, other days I'm a pretty big deal around this house, and I feel like the keystone holding this family together. 

Life ebbs and flows, and I'm certain it all makes sense in the end...but I want everyone to remember you're not the number of likes you get on a photo whether that number be big or small, ok? Cause after all, it's really just some weird, little robot guy working an Instagram calculator behind a big, smoky green curtain anyways. 

photos from The Over-Analyst's post... You can go check out a little interview Bronson did with her awhile back. It's pretty cute.

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